Facebook makes radical changes to mobile platform

Facebook on Wednesday moved to become the heart of smartphone lifestyles by making it easy for people to find deals at nearby shops and connect with mobile software applications.

The world’s top online social networking service updated its mobile platform to let people check into third-party applications with a click of a Facebook sign-in icon and also let them see bargains available at local businesses.

“There is obviously a lot of change in the mobile space,” Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said during a press event at the firm’s headquarters in the California city of Palo Alto.

“There is also a revolution happening in the social space,” he continued.

“You can rethink any product area to be social, where all interactions involve someone’s friends… That makes some really big opportunities for new companies to get built and more industries to get disrupted.”

Facebook is intent on being a platform for socialising done using applications on mobile phones, regardless of who makes the devices or the programs, according to Zuckerberg.

“There has been this rumor floating around recently that Facebook is going to build a phone… No,” Zuckerberg said.

“Our goal is to make it so that no matter what (mobile phone) platform you are writing for, it can be social.”

Two of the three announcements made by Facebook were aimed at software makers, with the social network eliminating the need to type in passwords for mobile applications and opening a location-based “Places” feature to programs crafted for smartphones running on Google-backed Android handsets.

A Deals feature unveiled by Facebook promised to resonate with users and businesses by tapping into location-sensing features of mobile phones to connect people with bargains at local shops, restaurants or bars.

Deals applications on smartphones would list promotions and other enticements near establishments to lure customers.

“I see this as a game changer in the location-based services field,” said Forrester analyst Augie Ray. “I think this advances Facebook’s goals of being at the center of consumers’ virtual worlds.” – AFP



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